Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Supermodels do drugs? Who woulda thunk it?

If Burberry, H & M, Chanel, etc. are going to drop Kate Moss because of the documented video evidence that she snorts a lot of coke, they may as well drop the majority of their models. Not that I condone Kate Moss's lifestyle--on the contrary, all the money in the world wouldn't make it seem any more appealing--but clothing companies are being supremely disingenuous in appearing shocked that one of their top models is a drug addict mixed up with a junkie boyfriend. In fact, these clothing companies and the fashion industry at large are the source of the problem, as an article in Salon points out:
What this drama has done is lay bare the ugly skeleton that holds up a fashion industry that for some time has prized hollow cheeks and vacant eyes, stunted, prepubescent frames, and jutting collar bones from which fabric drapes beautifully. In other words, the body that is appealing to designers -- and thus to consumers -- is a body that looks like it has been ravaged by drugs. In order to stay employed, models must maintain this shape; to maintain the shape they must do something besides eat right and exercise regularly. Whether it's cocaine or speed or heroin or caffeine or cigarettes or anorexia or bulimia or some combination of the above, most adult women cannot get bodies that look like Moss' healthily, because hers is not a healthy body.
From knowing many perfectly normal or even underweight girls who think they need to cut carbs and go to the gym daily, I can see how the fatally distorted image of the impossibly thin woman disseminated by Hollywood and the fashion industry has a lasting effect on many female members of our society.

I remember an instance in my high school U.S. History class when my teacher showed us some ads with women from the 1950s. Though these ads were stereotypical 50s fare, their images promoting a homemaker ideal that was in fact quite confining for women, the ads at least featured women of normal body weights. My teacher went on to say that in spite of the advances women have made in having choice of occupation since these ads were produced, advances in healthy presentation of body images seems to have made an inverse level of progress. We see in media images nowadays that women, but they better stay skinny.

Moss's lifestyle is of course her own choosing, but her participation in a world that condones hard drug use more than it does gaining 10 pounds cannot be overlooked as a reason for the glamorization of Moss's (and many others') self-destructive activities. If the companies that dropped Moss want to prove they really do care whether their models are healthy, maybe they'll start hiring healthier models.

2 comments:

c.calce said...

AMEN.

Possibly one of the best blog pieces I've seen on the subject.

Unfortunately, I don't see the fashion world changing anytime soon. Frankly, the people who will throw down $350 for a pair of Gucci jeans (and who can probably fit in those jeans because of liposuction) will never stage any sort of organized outcry against these sort of modeling practices. Ergo, luxury fashion companies like Gucci, which set the precedent for the rest of the fashion community, will still make money & these mostly male-run companies will continue to use models the size of toothpicks.

I could go on, but hey, it's your blog, not mine.

Elaine said...

Glad you liked my entry. You're right, it seems like people who pay lots o' money for designer items don't tend to be independent thinkers. Thanks for your comment, and I hope all is well with you!